Jobs created in 2009 highlighted at Chamber of Commerce event

The Chamber also presented its awards.

Published: Friday, January 29, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 11:18 p.m.

The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce held its version of a state of the union speech Thursday, presenting a plan to create jobs and recognizing last year's accomplishments at its annual meeting at RD Air Services at the Gainesville Regional Airport.

The Innovation Gainesville job plan was the big news of the night, but outgoing chairman Joe Cirulli, owner of Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers, noted the jobs created in 2009.

The Council for Economic Outreach, the economic development arm of the Chamber, helped lure the Enterprise Rent-A-Car claims processing center with 200 jobs, as well as the Bren-Tronics battery manufacturer with the help of the Phoenix Commercial Park and Alachua County government.

The Chamber received five-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, placing it in the top 1 percent of chambers nationwide, while Chamber partner FloridaWorks was named the top workforce agency in the nation by the U.S. Chamber's Institute for Competitive Workforce.

The Chamber's Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center incubator tenant Sinmat appeared at President Obama's forum on innovation jobs and received its fourth R&D 100 award for top inventions.

Cirulli presented the Chairman Award to Florida Bridgewater-Alford for leading the Chamber's education task force that brought together organizations interested in improving the county's high school graduation rates.

Other awards included two for Volunteer of the Year, one of which went to Scott Costello of Home Magazine's Living in the Heart of Florida for promoting the Chamber, serving on the education task force and an Innovation Gainesville team, and numerous public service activities. He was also one of 34 people nationwide selected by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to attend the Business LEADS Institute in Washington, D.C.

The other Volunteer of the Year was Greg Bradley of the Community Redevelopment Agency for serving on the education task force and Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association, co-chairing an Innovation Gainesville team and mentoring young men.

Tom Mallini of M&S Bank and John Carlson of PPI Construction Management shared the J. Wayne Reitz Award for furthering economic development by leading the first phase of the Innovation Gainesville planning process.

Sue Washer of Applied Genetic Technologies Corp. and Jackson Sasser of Santa Fe College received the first ever Innovation Advocate awards for chairing the second phase of the plan.

Chamber Diplomat of the Year was Kevin Coulson of Meridian Behavioral Healthcare for volunteer work on behalf of the Chamber.

Cirulli turned over the gavel to 2010 Chairman Eric Godet of Godet Industries International.

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